WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — One lake was lowered to watch status as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) updated its blue-green algae advisory list on Thursday.

No bodies of water were added to warning status list, and none are currently in hazard status.

A warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the waterbody should be avoided. Here are the lakes currently in warning status:

  • Crystal Lake, Anderson County
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County 
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County 
  • Melvern Outlet (River) Pond, Osage County 
  • Milford Lake Zone A, Dickinson and Geary Counties
  • Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County 
  • Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County 
  • Rooks County SFL, Rooks County
  • South Park Lake, Johnson County 

A watch status means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water. Here are the lakes currently in watch status:

  • Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge), Osage County 
  • Kingston Lake, Johnson County (Lowered on Oct. 27)

The KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken when a warning status is issued:

  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water, and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts the skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

The KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken when a watch status is issued:

  • Signage will be posted at all public access locations.
  • Water may be unsafe for humans/animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation, and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
  • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms.
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portions only.

hazard status means that a harmful algal bloom is present and extreme conditions exist.

When a hazard is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations
  • It is recommended that either a portion of the lake or the entire lake or zone be closed to the public.
  • In some cases, the adjacent land should be closed as well. Actual setback distances will be determined on a site-specific basis, if necessary.
  • When partial closures (i.e., beach or cove) are issued, the remaining lake or zone area will carry a warning status.

The KDHE investigates publicly accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on credible field observation and sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.

If you observe a scum or paint-like surface on the water, small floating blue-green clumps or filaments in the water, or if the water is an opaque green, the KDHE and the KDWP says to avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

These toxins can be absorbed via ingestion, inhalation, and even skin contact. Symptoms can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in the water, drink the water, or eat dried algae from the shore may become seriously ill or die. If you or your pets come into contact with the algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water and report the incident online.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, click here.